Christmas at Maplemont Manor by Julie Manthey

Christmas at Maplemont Manor is exactly where I want to be every Christmas! Set in a small town, Maplemont Manor is host and donor to many holiday festivities in the town of Maplemont. When its new heir moves to town, he instantly becomes the most eligible bachelor in town. Good thing that bakery owner, Noelle Kringle, doesn’t like or want to be one of his admirers. But this is a holiday romance so, of course, sparks fly when the two of them together and readers will broadly smile as the romance begins to blossom.

Yes, Maplemont Manor is a bit predictable but the characters are wonderful, the story quite magical and the setting is perfection. What more do we really want from a holiday story if not magic?

Thank you to #Netgalley, the #IBPA and #JulieManthey for my copy of #ChristmasatMaplemontManor

Out of Her Mind by T.R.Ragan

T.R. Ragan has officially become my new favorite crime fiction author – I just cannot stop reading her books!

Out of Her Mind is the second book in the Sawyer Brooks series. If you haven’t read the first one, Don’t Make a Sound then stop – drop everything – and go read it right now. It’s fantastic. Sawyer Brooks is a crime beat reporter with a amazingly sordid past. Her past, and that of her sisters, is what drives Brooks to investigate a story without stopping until she discovers the truth. I honestly wish we still had crime reporters like this. The world needs them! When a child’s bones are found and another child goes missing, Brooks begins searching for similarities. With the help of her sister, Aria, they soon discover a string of missing children. Could this be the work of seriel kidnapper/murder? Brooks certainly thinks so.

There is a seperate sub-plot that runs along with this primary one revolving around The Black Wig women. I won’t divulge much about this group but I find their story just as fascinating as Sawyer Brooks.

This series, like others that Ragan writes, is a well done piece of crime fiction. The characters – all of them – are well written and fully fleshed out for the reader. You see their weaknesses as well as their strengths and, beginning in this second book, you also begin to see their growth past their pain and their insecurities. I highly recommend Out of Her Mind as well as the remainder of the series.

Thanks to #Netgalley and #ThomasMercer for my copy of Our of Her Mind.

Thankfully in Love: A Thanksgiving Anthology

What a delight to find a book that features my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! Not just one but FOUR short stories that center around Thanksgiving, families and love. Lest you think this is only for Americans, one of the stories takes place over the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday!

Written by four well known and well loved authors, each of the stories described below accentuate family, love and gratitude which we all need in abundance in this crazy Covid year!

No Place Like Home by Anna J Stewart is very family centric with a whole lot of romance thrown in for good measure

Second Chance by Kayla Perrin is about, yep, second chances at love. This one, with its wonderful repartee, was my favorite of the four

Dog Gone Holiday by Melinda Curtis tells the story of a couple who is struggling during the holiday but find hope in one another.

Love Guides the Way by Cari Lynn Webb is your typical romance about two people brought together but who doubt the sincerity of one another.

While the anthology started out strong, the last story was not a favorite of mine. However, that is likely due to the fact that I’m not a big romance fan. I like them light and sweet and only during the holidays. Never-the-less, as a whole, I absolutely recommend Thankfully in Love to start off your holiday season with a grategul, thankful heart.

Thanks to each of the authors mentioned above, @Netgalley for my copy of this warm and entertaining book.





Twelve Weeks Til Christmas: The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere

WHOO HOO – it’s that time of year! It’s time to celebrate the holidays with my annual Twelve Weeks ‘Til Christmas reading countdown. Each week I will highlight a new holiday themed book that I think you might enjoy reading during the festive season.

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The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere is one of many in a long line of Christmas themed books she has written over the years. I’ve read a few here and there not realizing that it was, more or less, a series. It is, however, one of those series that features a different person in each book so that you can read them as a stand alone feature. Some of the characters will be familiar if you have read her other books and some are newly introduced. Regardless, it is an endearing story featuring a dual timeline, the 1970s and 2012, a kitchen table and recipes that have been lovingly  written for someone’s daughter. How the two timeline’s merge and the importance of the table is beautifully told and intertwined. I loved the story, thought it was wonderfully and carefully written and enjoyed the recipes at the end of the tale.

I was not forewarned that VanLiere’s books are Christian based and I think it is important to know this. There are many people who celebrate the holidays, Christmas, or who are religious but do not believe the same way as others. In this particular book it wasn’t so overt that I felt uncomfortable, but I do wish these types of books were marked accordingly. That said, I did like the book and do recommend it for your holiday reading.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for my copy of #TheChristmasTable.

A Heartfelt Christmas Promise @nancynaigle

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It’s beginning to look a lot like…. Too soon!?! There is a cold snap in the air today in the midwest and it has been the perfect time to cozy up with a warm cup of coffee and read; Nancy Naigle’s newest holiday tale was the perfect choice! Happy Pub Day to A Heartfelt Christmas Promise!

I absolutely adore holiday stories and read them throughout the year. There are some that are strictly “holiday themed” but so many others are really wonderful feel-good books that make you happy just reading them. A Heartfelt Christmas Promise, while absolutely revolving around the holidays – it begins with Thanksgiving and goes through Christmas – is, at its roots, a beautiful love story and I LOVED this story!

READ AN EXCERPT HERE

Vanessa is the consummate over achieving business woman who excels at all that she sets her mind to accomplish. She hasn’t made time for friends or romance and rarely has time for family. When a new project in Paris comes up at work, she is positive she will be sent to Paris for the holidays. Her boss, unfortunately has other plans. Vanessa is sent to a small mountain town that makes fruitcake to shut down the company in order to put in a warehouse. Yes, I know this sounds like so many Hallmark Movies and I thought it was going to exactly like that. I was WRONG! I won’t divulge how it is different but, please, believe me when I say that it is. Vanessa is not your sappy woman who gets all emotional upon arrival; she sees a solution and she goes about accomplishing her goals – goals that will benefit everyone. Of course there is a snafu – it wouldn’t be a holiday story without one – but in the end it all works out! Sniffle Sniffle…. yeah, I cried.

There are so many things to love (!) about A Heartfelt Christmas Promise. First and foremost, Vanessa is intelligent and never makes excuses for being a strong, independent woman nor does she shy away from being a caring one! Second, this book includes so many age groups from Buck and Anna who are older, to Vanessa who is younger, to Misty who is a teen. Each of these people were depicted as able, smart, capable adults. It is so rare to read books that don’t make older adults or teens out to be stereotypical and this was very appreciated! Third, there are horses and puppies. Oh, hello!? Naigle did such a great job at depicting the Percheron horses that I swear I could hear their thundering hoofbeats going down my cobblestone street!!

Beautiful, aren’t they?

We have llamas pulling our sleigh here in my hometown so I cannot complain but can you imagine these beauties pulling Santa!? WOW! The horses play an integral part of the story and add so much character to the overall book!

What more can I say!? I LOVED A Heartfelt Christmas Promise! Whether you are an early reader of holiday books or just thinking about later, this one definitely should be on to-read list for the holidays!

Thanks to #Netgalley, #nancynaigle and #StMartinsGriffin for my copy of this marvelous book!

Snow Creek by Gregg Olsen

There are few authors who I will read regardless of what they write: fiction, non-fiction, series, stand-alone. Gregg Olsen is one of those authors. Imagine my surprise when I was reading the second book in the Megan Carpenter series and realized that I never had formally reviewed the first book. AAAggghhh. Let me say that it is difficult to go wrong with one of Olsen’s books and Snow Creek is no exception.

Snow Creek is the first in the Detective Megan Carpenter series. Carpenter has left behind a dark, murky past to start a new career in Snow Creek Washington. Her first case is a missing persons case that appears a likely accident until Carpenter gets a closer look. In addition to solving the murder case, there is a sub-plot regarding a series of tapes from Carpenter’s childhood. It adds a dimension to the story line that I found intriguing. Between the suspense of the murder and the psychological sub-plot, Olsen has, again, provided us with a solid, well written crime story. Both Snow Creek and Water’s Edge are available now at Amazon and local booksellers.

Happy Pub Day to #TheVacation by T.M. Logan

It’s publication day for one of my favorite suspense/thrillers of the summer: The Vacation!

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Four best friends have planned a dream vacation in a semi-secluded beach house. Their families are joining them for a week of fun, food and relaxation. However, these four gals are bringing a LOT of baggage with them including suspicions, old rivalries and jealousy and that does not even touch the problems their families have packed away. There are so many secrets, so many lies, so much drama so that when one of them is found dead it isn’t even a surprise. The surprise is who it is and who did it – and why!!

I love Logan’s writing, the way he brings each and every character to life through vivid descriptions. The atmospheric prose puts you, the reader, onto the beach, on the edge of the cliff with each of the characters themselves. It’s marvelous. But what I love most is his ability to keep you guessing and in the dark until the very end of the book. You may think you know who but the why is always a surprise – or vice-versa. The Vacation is a perfect summer read and a fabulous suspenseful book. I highly recommend it!

Thanks to #Netgalley, the author and #Stmartinspress for my copy of #TheVacation

Mums and Mayhem by Amanda Flower

Gardening and floral design are passions of mine so when I stumbled across Mums and Mayhem and realized that it was book that included both and was set in Scotland, I knew I had found myself a really good cozy read. I was absolutely right!

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A famous fiddler has been kilt. A magic garden’s left to wilt. Does Fiona Knox’s father hold the guilt? Will florist Fiona’s blood be spilt?

Fiona Knox, owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop is an American who moved to Scotland to care for her inheritance, a secret garden that is passed down to each generation of caretakers. Unsure why she has been chosen, Fiona has made Scotland her home to find answers, care for the garden and solve a mystery or two. In this edition, a world famous fiddle player has returned to his hometown for a homecoming concert only to be brutally murdered. Fiona’s parents also arrive from America and, surprisingly, Fiona discovers that her parents, her deceased godfather and the dead fiddler were once great friends. The more Fiona digs into the murder, the more questions she has about her own past and identity. What she discovers will leave her and the reader shocked.

I absolutely adore this cozy mystery. The villagers are all so cranky and wonderful and Scottish and marvelous and Fiona is a great protagonist.The garden itself is magical but to the point where you will gag on cloying fantasy and paranormal. It’s mystical properties are “just right.” There’s a hint of romance, a well written plot and good character development set in a dear little town. What more could you ask for in a cozy mystery?

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Mums and Mayhem is the third in A Magic Garden Mystery series but I read it as a stand alone without any problems. It did, however, make me want to read the first two books: Flowers and Foul Play and Death and Daisies which I readily found at my local library. I heartily recommend all three of these delightful books to you today.

@Netgalley @CrookedLaneBooks

 

 

Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey

Never for one moment did I envision how this book would end – never.

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Because You’re Mine is the intriguing story of the interwoven lives of three people and one charming young boy who is on the spectrum. Mom, Lee, who works her butt off to provide a loving, comfortable and safe home for her son, Mason. His tutor, Noah, for whom Lee has a growing interest but tries to quell it in order not to upset Mason’s routine and Grace, the dutiful and caring friend. The story is told from each of their perspectives and we get glimpses into each of their lives, thoughts and concerns but primarily it all revolves around Lee and Mason. When Grace convinces Lee to get away for a weekend with two other friends, leaving Mason in Noah’s care, it seems that Lee finally will get some much needed time for herself. However, as the weekend progresses, secrets are revealed and only three of the friends come away alive. Sounds familiar, right? Wrong! Because You’re Mine is a unique twist on this theme and it is one that I’m sure you find interesting.

#Netgalley #BecauseYou’reMine

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

Little Secrets!? How about BIG BIG LIES! That would be my suggestion for the title of this “can’t put down” thriller!

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Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier was not even close to what I was expecting! The blurb suggests the book is about college sweethearts whose marriage is falling apart after their son is abducted. I thought perhaps it would be an abduction story – and that was a secondary part of the tale. But wow – oh wow – the rest of the book is SO MUCH MORE. There is a lot happening in this book. Are all of her books like this!? I don’t know, I haven’t read them but I will, I WILL!! There are little secrets, BIG LIES, cheating spouses, people you will hate, no one you will love, and everyone running around one another trying to keep their lies a secret. Naturally it doesn’t work but will finding the truth help them to find the child!? Oh My Gosh, who knows!? Well, you will – if you read this fantastic thriller.